Four Ways of Looking at Lana Del Rey
What does an online visual analysis look like? Even a rudimentary one? What are the basic steps for each?
Below are four sample presentations.
- These were created purely as technology demonstrations for an undergraduate gender studies course.
- A convenient topic was: a visual analysis of recent pop singer-songwriter Lana Del Rey.
- The analyses follow no particular method and represent no general theory:
- they just show some things that can be done to analyze visual materials on different platforms.
- If each varies in quality--use of the medium, complexity--they can also serve as objects of critique, an opportunity to discuss evaluation criteria.
- The actual url's have been passed through a link-shortener with customized url's to make them easier to share.
1. Publish images and text slides as an online photo set or 'web album.'
How I Did It.
- I searched for images using images.google.com.
- When a surprising image came up--like '20's "It Girl" Clara Bow's image in results for "Lana Del Rey"--I searched the new topic to find more relevant images.
- I shuttled back and forth between the images and more searches.
- I saved the photos locally.
- I drafted some notes and used them to sequence the images in Picasa photo organizing & editing software.
- I published the resulting album to the web from within Picasa.
2. An online photo set like those in Picasaweb can also be pulled into Cooliris Express.
- This link connects to the same images, but in this browser-based application, the images become an interactive gallery wall.
3. Use iMovie to edit images of video and add commentary.
How I Did It.
- I downloaded a music video that I found intriguing from Youtube using keepvid.com.
- I brought that video file into iMovie.
- I selected one short 45-second clip that used a lot of motifs I wanted to point towards.
- I added titles over the images to highlight certain meanings and categories the video consistently draws on.
- I rendered the video and published it to Youtube.
- Clearly, just a few descriptions on the screen is not the same as an analysis.
- Given that the images move quickly, still frames might be better.
- Further, having the keywords come and go with the images does not solidify the running themes for the viewer.
4. Use online presentation software--such as Google Docs.
- By selecting related visual images and juxtaposing them with an analytical quote, you can make a very small network of themes.
- In this case, I took the main topics from the quotes and made them into 'tags'--just a word that floats near the image and highlights some aspect of it.
- Clearly, this is not the richest, most sophisticated way to do this.
- A next step would involve: editing the images to highlight the elements, or constructing a richer dynamic between words and images.
The workflow is:
- Create an empty presentation in Google Docs.
- Find images and drag the image from an open browser window directly into the Google Docs presentation.
- Add text quotes and 'tags.'
- Publish by using the "Share." Button.
This does not exhaust the options. But it shows some of the possibilities.
--Edward R. O'Neill